Sämtliche schriften und briefe series VI volume 4
Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed)
p 2717

Date: November 1677

Translated from the Latin

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[A VI 4, p2717]

     The rule of those who prescribe spiritual exercises is that as far as possible one should abstain from speculations, that is, from contemplations that are remote from practice. I, though, explain it in a different way, for practical contemplations are nothing other than spiritual exercises, and if one were to abstain from all contemplation one would also abstain from exercise of the spirit. But, you will say, exercise of the spirit can be the exercise of the will without the exercise of the understanding. My response is that the will is aroused by the understanding of good and evil, that is, by the practical understanding. Therefore, spiritual exercises are practical contemplations on sacred things.
     By spiritual exercises I mean those things that are done in solitude, but not exercises of charity, justice, etc. towards one’s neighbour.

© Lloyd Strickland 2018. Revised 2022